Grief grips mining town after prospector's death
"I MADE a cup of tea for me and a coffee for him.
"I banged on the ladder to tell him it was ready, but there was no answer."
Murray Hazelton, 58, was found dead in a mine shaft on a private property in the Gemfields on Tuesday morning.
Anita (surname withheld) owns the claim where Murray worked for nearly 10 years.
"He was perfectly all right in the morning," she said.
"I put my helmet on and I started to climb down. I'd only got about 12 feet and the platform was there. And when I turned around there he was, lying on the platform.
"He was going home in a week's time. He spends Christmas with his mum, who's 90."
Anita said early reports of Murray having fallen down a shaft were inaccurate.
"He didn't die in an accident. It was a massive heart attack or something. He had a heart attack and died on the platform, three quarters of the way up, riding the elevator.
"As soon as he had the attack, his finger came off the button. The machine stopped, and that's where I found him.
"We have really nice modern plant and a platform that we come up and down on. There are three security locks on it. It's perfectly safe."
Anita proposed a potential hereditary explanation, saying that a relative of Murray's died in a similarly sudden manner.
"I'm absolutely devastated," she said.
"He wouldn't have known what hit him. He just died."
Murray's family are travelling up from New South Wales.
Queensland Police and the Mines Inspectorate are investigating the death, and an autopsy has been ordered.